My husband and I have embarked on a culinary odyssey in of all places, Turlock. We live here and feel that through experiencing local cuisine (or just plain food in some cases) and writing about it we might be able to help people find good food and may discover some hidden gems along the way. Read more about us on our Introduction Page.
Villa Napoli Restaurant – It’s early on a Saturday night and this restaurant is hopping. Some of you might remember it as Da Picolo several years back located on Geer Rd. Granted it is small and the decor is simplistic but it’s clean and homey.
To my surprise I see that at 6:30 the place is already nearly full with people well into their main entree. This is already a good sign; nothing is more awkward and suspicious than walking into an empty restaurant during the dinner rush.
We are greeted by one of the owners, Josephine Accardo, who is the epitome of the tiny Italian grandma we would all love to have. Cino Accardo, the chef/owner, we would meet later that evening in the kitchen. For the record, he makes all his own sauces; they do not come out of a can. Our waiter seemed like a pro, he knows the business and knows how to give not just good service but service with flair.
Immediately upon opening the menu we found it diverse and the prices reasonable. This is classic old school Italian food. This isn’t fancy Bay Area Italian chic (with prices to match) but something most people in Turlock can relate to.
The wine list, however, was disappointingly small. I realize it takes quite a bank roll and space to house a decent wine selection but I think expansion of the list may benefit the restaurant in the long run (otherwise people might start bringing their own). In defense of the wine list are the bargain prices and the drinkability of the few wines they do have available. They won’t knock your socks off but they will go down easy with the pasta.
As we moved into our first course we were served fresh warm rolls. The carrot soup was memorable with the unexpected addition of maple syrup. The caesar salad was respectable as it should be- a classic. I had shrimp salad which I found to be light, flavorful and highlighted by really good avocados. Normally I am not a bay shrimp fan and would prefer larger shrimp, but the bay shrimp really worked with the flavor combinations in this salad. It would be a great light lunch selection.
Dinner was satisfying. Peter’s Vitello Saltibocca was tasty and appropriately portioned. The Tortellini Romana (cream sauce with peas and prosciutto) was a bit heavy on the peas but still enjoyable. Our guests sampled the seafood. The simply prepared salmon needed a bit of salt but the prawns (Gamberi Alla Villa Napoli) were refreshing in their citrus based sauce.
Overall we really enjoyed our meal at Villa Napoli, would we return…absolutely! It’s like having a really good home cooked meal and the best part is you don’t have to do the dishes.
Christine and Peter Bacon